Phoenix Ancient Town

Tag Archive
Cultural, Internship Experience, Travel, Weekend Trips

It’s Easy To Travel Within China!

Before coming to China, I remember thinking that when my six month internship in China is finished, I want to be able to say I’ve really seen China. During my initial emails with current Office Manager Morgan Dolan before I arrived, I told her this, and she replied with “I don’t think you realize how big China really is!” Six months later, I can actually say that I have seen a lot of China!

Hong Kong Skyline

The truth is, China is really big! It’s very easy for me to get overly ambitious with my travelling ideas, so when I initially got here I aimed for the closer places – Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Macau, etc and finally got over the idea of ‘seeing’ China. Then one day when I was sitting at the park with a bunch of my friends (fellow interns), a few of us came upon the topic of all the places in China we’d like to go. Pretty soon we had all agreed on the great places we’d all want to go. A few of us girls ended up making plans to go see these places before our internships are over; Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xi’an. These were our goals.

Bamboo rafting in Yangshou

Planning trips can tend to be very overwhelming, so we decided to tackle one destination at a time, and planned one trip per month. After doing a lot of research and talking to some of our Chinese friends, we found that the best websites to use for traveling within China are: www.skyskanner.com, www.ctrip.com, https://flight.qunar.com/. These websites offer a wide variety of frequent flights from all of the nearby airports (from Zhuhai, the easiest airports to depart from are either Zhuhai or Guangzhou). There are also many buses that go from Zhuhai to either the Zhuhai airport or the Guangzhou airport directly, and they run really frequently so it is really easy to just hop on the bus after work on a Friday and go straight to the airport. Prices for flying within China also are not too expensive; for example my flight to Shanghai was 1000rmb (125€), to Chengdu  and Xi’an were both 1300rmb (163€), and the flight to Beijing was 2000rmb (250€). From what our Customer Relations Manager Sunny tells me, flights within China can be a lot cheaper, however this all depends on when you buy the tickets and the time of year that you decide to go – we however didn’t have that much time and simply wanted to ensure that we would go there, so we were happy with these prices.

Beijing - Great Wall of China

There are arrays of cheap, and great, hostels to choose from in each city.  By visiting www.hostelworld.com  you can check out all the local hostels and pick the best one for you. Most hostels also help you plan your trips, and can usually cater them around for you. For example, in Xi’an the hostel arranged for a private bus to take us to and from the Music and Dance Show and arranged our tickets and everything for us, so all we had to do was show up at the door. In Beijing, our hostel arranged our trip to the Great Wall, so we did not have to worry about anything when we arrived, but instead just got to relax and enjoy our trip and know that we were being taken care of.

Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors

Even if you are unable to get any days off or holiday time from your internship, it is still very possible to travel. Because we all intern in different companies and weren’t able to get the same days off, we decided it would be easier if we focused our trips to be on the weekends, meaning for every trip we’d choose the latest flight on the Friday night, and the latest flight on the Sunday night to ensure that we got the full weekend. So on the Friday, we’d leave straight from work to the airport and usually only arrive at our destination really early in the morning, but at least it meant that we had the whole Saturday and Sunday and that we were not wasting any time. Monday was always a little difficult, as we were all tired from our hectic weekend and arriving back really early in the morning, but it’s totally worth it!

Phoenix Ancient Town

Another great way to see China is through InternChina itself – we plan many cultural trips around China, some of our most recent trips were to Zhangjiajie (the scenic spot where the Avatar Mountains were filmed), Yangshou, Phoenix Town, Xiamen and Fujian. These trips are a lot of fun as all the interns join on these trips, and we all get to experience them together. InternChina also plans out everything from transportation, accommodation, trip details/itinerary and food, so the interns never have to worry about anything and just get to enjoy the amazing trips! InternChina usually plans a trip every 5 weeks, so whenever you arrive you will have the opportunity to go on a trip within China and have a great weekend away with all the other interns! You can see some of the Zhuhai teams’ blogs from our trips here: Zhangjiajie, Phoenix town, Yangshou, Xiamen.

All the places I've had the opportunity to visit during my 6 months internship

If you have dreams of seeing more of China during your stay, don’t let the distance throw you off! It’s so easy to travel within China, and it’s so worth it! My stay here would not have been the same without all my weekend travel trips – it also gives you such a better understanding of China as a whole, and the area you are living in. It allows you to experience all of the different Chinese dialects, styles, cultures, and types of food.

Are you interested in coming to China for experience and cultural awareness? Come to China and travel to all the great sites! Apply now for an internship or send us an email for more information.

Cultural, Travel

Phoenix Ancient Town

Chinese Legends say that in ancient time, two phoenixes flew over the town and found the surroundings so beautiful that they hovered above it, and were so taken by the beauty that they did not want to leave. This town then got the name Phoenix Ancient Town.
After our amazing 2-day trip to Zhangjiajie, in which we hiked up and down the mountains and saw the picturesque view, we continued on our journey to Phoenix Ancient Town (Feng Huang), a mere 6-hour drive away in Hunan Province. The town can be traced back to Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 BC). By the time we were nearing the city, everyone was so exhausted from having spent over 23 hours in the bus in the span of three days, and were pretty grumpy and ready to get off the bus. When we passed by the river in which the town is situated however, everyone quickly got very excited at what they saw – a beautiful lit up city reflecting over the river.

The city is inhabited by the local Miao people, and is famous for its beauty and specialty – the houses are on stilts over the river. The scene looked like something that could have come from a movie, the glowing Chinese architecture reflecting in the still river, red lanterns hanging from every roof. It was beautiful. The town runs along the river, and is home to many stores, restaurants, bars and markets. Night life was bustling, so after we checked into the hotel and left our bags in our rooms we all split up into little groups to explore the city.

There must be beautiful gardens surrounding the city, because every couple of meters on the river’s edge were old ladies, sitting together and stringing together flowers to make beautiful head wreaths. At 5 RMB (0.62 €) a piece, who could resist?

Having been on the road for so long, we practically lived off gas-station food and candy, so we were all excited for the dinner that Naima (our tour guide) had planned for us. Located in the new part of the city, we were taken to a restaurant that had a wonderful and authentic Chinese feel to it. Delicious food was made for us, including cooked shredded bamboo, a variety of cooked vegetables, shredded potatoes, steamed pork and cooked beef dishes, chicken soup cooking over a fire on the table, and of course lots of rice. Not only was the food delicious, but we got to try some of Naima’s home-made rice wine. Although pretty strong, it is very sweet and a great complement to the food.

The next morning was really special because we were finally seeing what Phoenix Town looked like during the day! The town has the beautiful backdrop of mountains. The sun was shining and as we walked around we got to really appreciate the constructions of the houses. There were lots of men on little boats, trying to get from point A to B, and women sitting on the river’s edge cleaning their laundry.

We had until 1 pm to walk around the city, grab some local street food, take some pictures and enjoy the sunshine before having to head back to the bus for the 16 hour ride home. Everyone was sad to leave the city, and although there wasn’t too much to do there, it was just one of those places where you could spend a couple days just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful scenery around you. We could definitely have used another night there. But as it is, it’s nice to have left with the great memory of our one night in Phoenix Ancient Town.

Would you like to travel to beautiful and exotic places in China? Apply now for an internship or send us an email for more information!